11 March 2016 – Expansión
Residential property sales closed 2015 with growth of 9.8%. According to statistics from the Ministry of Development, which are based on operations closed in the presence of a notary, 401,281 homes were sold during the year, the highest figure since 2010. The real estate market whereby strengthened its journey towards normalisation. Overcoming the barrier of 400,000 transactions (per year) was an important step in the right direction. Experts believe that the cruising speed (in terms of sales volumes) may exceed 500,000 sales per year.
Nevertheless, the housing recovery is not uniform. In some autonomous regions, the market grew by more than 10% – the Balearic Islands, País Vasco, Cantabria, Murcia and Aragón recorded annual increases of 17.4%, 17%, 16.6%, 16.3% and 14.3%, respectively – whilst in others, there was barely any growth – Extremadura (0.7%), La Rioja (2.5%), Navarra (2.5%) -. And in Castilla-La Mancha, sales continued to fall (-0.8%).
In addition, it is worth noting that sales fell by 2.9% in January, according to INE (which reflects data from two months ago, in other words from November). In any case, the important thing is the trend, and that is rising, towards stabilisation.
“Growth of almost 10% in terms of the number of operations is good news for the market, which confirms that 2015 was the year of normalisation in many parts of Spain”, says Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at Idealista. “Nevertheless, we expected more transactions and the quarterly data indicated that the figure would comfortably exceed 400,000”, he added.
What happened? Well, “in the fourth quarter, there was a slowdown in purchases, probably due to the pre-election period and uncertainty over the formation of the new Government”. In fact, the results of the statistics about residential property transactions signed in the presence of a notary in the fourth quarter of 2015 show that only 114,598 homes were sold in Spain. The last time more homes were sold in the fourth quarter was in 2010 (150,494). Although, the data for Q4 2015 represented an increase of 2.4% compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, so it is not that clear whether the political uncertainty really did curb sales. We will have to wait and see before we reach that conclusion.
By province, the greatest increases in sales in 2015 occurred in Segovia (28.5%), Vizcaya (24.8%), Cádiz (21.4%), Baleares (17.4%), Cantabria (16.6%), Murcia (16.3%), Valencia (14.8%) and Zaragoza (14.8%).
The provinces with the highest decreases in sales were Ciudad Real (-9.5%), Guadalajara (-7.5%), Ávila (-4.9%), Cáceres (-4.8%) and Salamanca, with a drop of 4.2%.
Of the large municipalities, the following increases stand out: Segovia (75.6%), Bilbao (45.4%), Huesca (35.3%), Huelva (29.5%), Badalona (29.1%), Santa Coloma de Gramanet (27.8%) and Leganés (26.6%).
Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)
Translation: Carmel Drake